The group stage battles of the Champions League have just begun, and the tournament has already presented us with plenty of excitement and unexpected turn of events. Perhaps the most surprising result is the crushing defeat that Real (M) sustained against PSG, with the Spanish club failing to achieve even a single shot on target.
But we are here for another reason—the performance of Serie A clubs in the most coveted club football tournament and what we could expect of them in upcoming games.
Perhaps an equal surprise was Inter’s draw with Slavia Prague which kicked off the competition in Group F.
In a group that’s also home to Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund, it was expected that Inter would kick-off the competition with a comfortable home win.
Much to the upset of the Nerazzurri, the Czech team’s star Peter Olayinka had different plans, scoring a goal in the 66 minute. The Nigerian footballer is the first of his nation to score a goal in his Champion’s League debut since 2002.
With the equalising goal coming in the added time of the second half this was a sad game for Inter, who will have to brush off the disappointment before visiting Barcelona for the next game.
It was a sweet start for the Gli Azzurri who scored two goals for a home win against the reigning champions of Liverpool.
The Guardian quotes Merseyside star Virgil van Dijk saying “ there’s no reason for panic” over the late defeat, yet Napoli keeps up with being a troublesome opponent for the Reds.
The two teams faced each other again last year when Gli Azzurri won the first game (but was ultimately knocked-off) 1-0 with Liverpool not achieving a single shot on target.
Next time Napoli will be going to Belgium to face Genk. After the triumph against Liverpool, expectations are that Napoli will also win the next face-off, a prediction supported by Oddscheckers. The Belgians already lost 6:2 as visitors to Red Bull.
Atletico Madrid has continuously proven to be a tough opponent for any team, and they managed to overcome a two-goal deficit against the Bianconeri for an end-result of 2:2.
Overall, this was the third game featuring a Serie A team that resulted in a goal being scored in the very last minute of the match with Hector Herrera equalising the result with a header in the 90’.
Wojciech Szczesny showed quality goalkeeping while Cristiano Ronaldo was inches away from toppling the Spaniards.
For the next game, Juve is welcoming Bayer who suffered a frustrating home loss from Lokomotiv Moscow despite controlling the ball for 79% of the time.
Atalanta was the only Serie A team that suffered a defeat during the first matchday of the Champions League group stage.
The squad was visiting Zagreb where Dinamo delivered an upsetting four goals into Atalanta’s net with Mislav Oršić scoring a hattrick.
It is no doubt an unpleasant, if not surprising, start for the Italian team’s debut in the tournament.
Next time Atalanta is welcoming Shakhtar Donetsk who suffered a 0:3 at home against Manchester City.